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College Hotline - The AP top-25 preseason poll vs. my ballot: How they compare

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 22, 2016.

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    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    The AP released its preseason top-25 poll Sunday morning. My ballot, posted on the Hotline 10 days ago, has been update below with the AP rankings for comparative purposes. I’ve kept the comments from the original post.

    Before we started, two links:

    ** Some terrific data and perspective on the preseason poll from CBSSports.com’s Jon Solomon.

    ** On a personal note, I was honored to be a guest on AP national writer Ralph Russo’s podcast. We talked about the poll, my approach to voting, the Pac-12 and more.

    Teams on my ballot but not in the AP poll: Texas A&M, Washington State, San Diego State, Texas and Miami.

    Teams in the AP poll but not on my ballot: No. 11 Mississippi, No. 18 Georgia, No. 22 North Carolina, No. 23 Baylor and No. 25 Florida.

    No. 25: Texas A&M.
    AP ranking:
    Comment: If they can keep the assistant coaches in line, Aggies should have a bounce-back season. Most of their toughest games (UCLA, Tennessee, Ole Miss and LSU) are at home.

    No. 24: Washington State.
    AP ranking: NR
    Comment: The resurgence under Mike Leach continues with Luke Falk back to operate the Air Raid. Only problem is a rugged division.

    No. 23: San Diego State.
    AP ranking: NR
    Comment: Best team in the Mountain West with 18 starters (including specialists) returning from a team that won 11 and crushed Cincinnati in the Hawaii Bowl.

    No. 22: Texas.
    AP ranking: NR
    Comment: Charlie Strong went 11-2 in his third season at Louisville. UT isn’t the same situation, but it’s close enough to expect marked improvement from the Longhorns despite the uncertainty at QB.

    No. 21: USC.
    AP ranking:
    Comment: Calling my shot now: Thanks to the nation’s toughest schedule — Alabama and Notre Dame, plus Stanford, Washington, Oregon and UCLA — the Trojans will be the best 7-5 team in the land.

    No. 20: Oregon.
    AP ranking: 24
    Comment: Transfer QB Dakota Prukop didn’t distinguish himself during spring practice, but he doesn’t have to be Vernon Adams for the Ducks to contend for the Pac-12 title — not as long as new coordinator Brady Hoke fixes the broken defense.

    No. 19: Michigan State.
    AP ranking: 12
    Comment: The Spartans are due for a step-back season after winning 13, 11 and 12 games the past three years and having to replace QB Connor Cook.

    No. 18: Oklahoma State.
    AP ranking: 21
    Comment: A beneficiary of Baylor’s chaos, for sure, but also in possession of 17 returning starters and a veteran quarterback in Mason Rudolph.

    No. 17: UCLA.
    AP ranking: 16
    Comment: QB Josh Rosen makes up for the turnover of offensive personnel, and the defense should be stout. Added benefit: USC, Stanford and Utah are at home.

    No. 16: Iowa.
    AP ranking: 17
    Comment: Jump from January placement the result of other teams being weakened by attrition and by a close examination of Iowa’s schedule. It’s soft, folks, with no Ohio State or Michigan State and a weak non-conference lineup.

    No. 15: Louisville.
    AP ranking: 19
    Comment: Bobby Petrino’s third season — or it is his seventh? — should be a success, thanks in part to Charlie Strong’s players. The Cardinals are No. 15 in the nation but only No. 3 in their division.

    No. 14: Miami.
    AP ranking: NR
    Comment: The Richt Effect, combined with nine returning starters on offense and the general benefits of playing in the ACC.

    No. 13: Stanford.
    AP ranking: 8
    Comment: The Cardinal plays USC, UCLA, Washington, Washington State and Notre Dame — and that’s just the first-half schedule. Oh, and there’s a new quarterback and reconstructed offensive line. Not even Christian McCaffrey can beat good teams all by himself.

    No. 12: Houston.
    AP ranking: 15
    Comment: The best bet to be the Group of 5’s top team. But expectations change everything.

    No. 11: Oklahoma.
    AP ranking: 3
    Comment: I suspect the Sooners will be several rungs higher in the AP poll, but count me as skeptical — not of the talent so much as the ability to execute well enough, often enough, to make a run at the CFP. At least we won’t have to wait long to find out: Ohio State, TCU and Texas come in succession, ending with the Red River on Oct. 8.

    No. 10: Washington.
    AP ranking:
    Comment: My pick to win the Pac-12 based on returning quarterback (Jake Browning), first-class defense and favorable schedule (Stanford and USC at home, no UCLA). But I’m not convinced the Pac-12 champ will be one of the top teams nationally. The conference is deep, but from this vantage point, it lacks an elite team.

    No. 9: TCU.
    AP ranking: 13
    Comment: Having viewed, reviewed and re-reviewed the Big 12, I’ve moved off Oklahoma and onto TCU as the pick for the conference title (and highest-ranked team standing). Injury totals tend to revert to the mean, so the Frogs should have above-average health in ’16. The defense is stocked, and quarterback Kenny Hill, the Texas A&M transfer, will flourish in Fort Worth.

    No. 8: Michigan.
    AP ranking: 7
    Comment: As spectacular as it is to have Jim Harbaugh back in college football, let’s not get two years ahead of ourselves. Michigan as the betting favorite for the national title? Methinks the hype has gotten just a tad out of control. The Wolverines don’t have a proven quarterback, their front seven has been rebuilt, and they play Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State on the road. If you’re scoring at home, Hate Week starts in 107 days.

    No. 7: Tennessee.
    AP ranking: 9
    Comment: In a survey for The Big Lead, I picked UT quarterback Josh Dobbs as my “breakout player” for 2016. He’s the most important reason the Vols are the favorite in the SEC East, although it helps having 17 returning starters and a schedule that does not include LSU, Auburn or Ole Miss.

    No. 6: Notre Dame.
    AP ranking: 10
    Comment: Nowhere does the number of returning starters matter less than South Bend, where all the injuries in ’15 provided backups with on-the-job training and set the stage for a playoff drive this season. Unfortunately for the Irish, they can’t trade one of their quarterbacks for an elite receiver.

    No. 5: Clemson.
    AP ranking: 2
    Comment: It’s too early in the process to know if the CFP runner up will experience the same hangover — some call it a curse — as the Super Bowl loser, but the early returns (Oregon!) make me wonder. Sure, Deshaun Watson’s fabulous. But life as the hunted is much different.

    No. 4: Alabama:
    AP ranking: 1
    Comment: Too low? Not according to the established laws of Nick-onomics. After the Crimson Tide’s three previous national titles under Saban, they’ve finished 1, 7 and 10 in the AP poll. That averages out to No. 6. From that standpoint, this ranking is generous.

    No. 3: Florida State.
    AP ranking: 4
    Comment: The Noles are quarterback clarity away from being No. 1 on my ballot. Otherwise, they’re stacked with Dalvin Cook, five returning starters up front and a ferocious defense. Also, they get Clemson, North Carolina and Florida at home.

    No. 2: LSU.
    AP ranking:
    Comment: Sure looks like LSU’s best team since 2011. The Tigers are loaded on the lines of scrimmage, have an experienced quarterback (Brandon Harris), and we hear the running back is decent. Plus, there’s no Tennessee or Georgia, and Alabama and Ole Miss visit Death Valley. Yep, I like the Tigers head-to-head over Bama. Only this time, it’ll be 10-6.

    No. 1: Ohio State.
    AP ranking: 6
    Comment: Not ready? Too much attrition? Wait ’til 2017? Nah. Urban Meyer proved two years ago that he can make it work ahead of schedule. Yes, the Buckeyes were slammed by departures to the NFL, but they have experience where it matters most (QB J.T. Barrett), there are future draft picks everywhere, and motivation shouldn’t be an issue after last year’s disappointment. Get ’em early — that means you, Oklahoma! — or get the heck out of their way.

    * Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

    The post The AP top-25 preseason poll vs. my ballot: How they compare appeared first on College Hotline.

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    by Jon Wilner

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